Pro Kabaddi: Puneri defeats Gujarat in first home leg match, Kandola stars in Haryana's victory over Thalaivas

Pune lived up its expectation of a strong defensive unit to down Gujarat, while Haryana pushed Thalaivas, sans Ajay Thakur, to the backfoot right from the outset to win 43-35.

Puneri Paltan, which is one of the best defensive sides of Pro Kabaddi, proved its worth once again as two defenders returned with a 'High-5'.   -  PKL MEDIA

Puneri Paltan produced a composed performance to beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 43-33 in its opening home leg match of Pro Kabaddi League match at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune on Saturday.

Nitin Tomar was the lead raider for the Pune side ('Super-10' with 11 raid points), but it was the defence that stole the show. Surjeet Singh and Balasaheb Jadhav picked up 'High-5s' and powered their team to a comprehensive victory over Gujarat.

Puneri Paltan dominated the entire first half, as it produced an all-round performance to thwart the advances from the Fortunegiants.

PKL DAY 49: AS IT HAPPENED

The Paltan raiders had Gujarat’s cover combination of Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal out in the early minutes and the season’s finalist struggled to recover from the early setback, succumbing to an 'All-Out' in the ninth minute.

Pune continued to pile on the pressure, with Manjeet impressing in his raids and in defence, and nearly inflicted another 'All-Out' in the dying minutes of a first half that ended 24-10 in favour of the home team.

The second 'All-Out' was secured immediately after the second half started as Pune continued to make merry.

In defence, Balasaheb Jadhav had an outstanding game and secured his 'High-5' with a 'Super-Tackle' on Sachin with 8 minutes left on the clock.

Gujarat managed to inflict an 'All-Out' on Pune with less than three minutes to the final whistle, but it was too late for a comeback as the Pune defence held firm to clinch its first victory of the home leg.

-Vikas Kandola helps Haryana Steelers defeat Tamil Thalaivas-

In the second match of the day, Haryana Steelers registered its 10th win of the season as Dharmaraj' Cheralathan's side defeated Tamil Thalaivas 43-35.

Haryana pushed Thalaivas, sans Ajay Thakur, to the backfoot right from the outset. Vikas Kandola (13 points) and Vinay (10 points) spearheaded the Steelers' raiding department.

Initially, both the teams traded blows as Rahul Chaudhari and V. Ajith Kumar of Thalaivas kept nullifying Kandola and Vinay's exploits. However, an 'All-Out' on Chennai helped Haryana race to a six-point lead.

Thalaivas struck back early in the second half by effecting an early 'All-out' on the opposition, but Kandola rescued his team to execute another 'All-Out' to take a 34-27 lead. Ajith Kumar chipped in late with a flurry points and was supported by Kenyan Victor Obiero, who scored four points in two successive raids. But Haryana maintained a six-plus points lead throughout to jump to the third spot in the table.

Scores:

Puneri Paltan (Nitin Tomar-11 pts, Surjeet Singh and Balasaheb Jadhav- 5 pts each) beat Gujarat Fortunegiants ( Sachin Tanwar-10 pts, Rohit Gulia-7pts) 43-33

Haryana Steelers (Vikas Kandola-13 pts, Vinay-10 pts) beat Tamil Thalaivas (Rahul Chaudhari-10 pts, V. Ajith Kumar-9 pts) 43-35.